After shooting a tournament-best two-day 142 and winning the Northern California Junior College Golf Championships, in Ione, California, last week, Guam’s Markus Nanpei entered the California Community College Athletic Association State Championship confidently.

On Monday, while playing for the CCCAA Men's Golf State Championship on the Dragon Fly Golf Club course in Madera, California, Nanpei, on the par-73 course, finished two under par. Nanpei’s performance placed him in a six-way tie for seventh, but he felt he could have scored better.

“On the first day I got a couple of unlucky breaks with a lost ball and bad lies,” said Nanpei. “I really feel like my game is coming into its own.”

On the second day of the two-day tournament, which took place Tuesday, the former Father Duenas Memorial School Friar, who plays on the Napa Valley College men’s golf team, offered another subpar performance, posting a 72 amid harsh, hot conditions.

“Going into round two, I just wanted to give myself a chance, and I felt good about my game,” Nanpei said. “I had a good game plan going into it but it didn’t go the way I wanted it to due to my putting letting me down. However, I felt that my driver and wedges were working well.

“Although I am pleased to have shot under par both days, I really feel that I left a number of shots out on the course.” 

The year-end tournament featured the four best teams from Northern and Southern California battling for individual and team titles. The teams from the north included Fresno City College, Reedley College, Napa Valley and Sierra College. The Southern teams were College of the Desert, Cuyamaca College, Riverside City College and Saddleback College. Twelve individual collegiate golfers, six from the north and an equal number from the south, also participated in the tournament.

With back-to-back solid performances from Nanpei, the college freshman may leave Napa for a four-year university.

“As far as next year, I have sent several emails to various (NCAA) (Division 1) and (Division 2) schools after winning the NorCal championship,” Nanpei said. “At this point, I’m still waiting for coaches to finish up their season to get back to me.”

The best decision

When Nanpei competed at the junior golf level, he often posted mixed results. One week he would place near the top of the leaderboard, but, in his next tournament, he would place in the middle of the pack or near the bottom. After a solid season with Napa, ending with back-to-back, head-turning performances, Nanpei’s game is better than ever and anchored in consistency.

“Coming to Napa gave me the opportunity to play in every tournament and play in a number of local Bay Area tournaments that has given me time to grow and believe,” Nanpei said. “Being a 17-year-old kid when I graduated from FD, there were still some things to clean up in my golf game. But my dad and I knew my biggest hurdle was having a more mature and levelheaded golf game.”

“I’m very pleased to finish the NorCal regionals and state championship playing my best golf,” he said.

A Friars reunion

Nanpei wasn’t Guam's only athlete competing in the state championships. Ivan Sablan, a graduate of Father Duenas who plays on the College of the Desert men’s golf team in Palm Desert, California, competed alongside Nanpei. Sablan, who shot a 76 on the first day of the tournament, shaved four strokes off his score on the second day, finishing two over par for the tournament. Sablan finished the tournament tied for 28th, several places higher than the opening round.

Team and other results

Although Nanpei and the Napa Valley Storm didn't win the team competition, they placed fourth, one point better than Fresno City. In the Northern California regionals, Fresno City placed higher than Napa. Reedley College, winners of the regionals, winning the state championships by six strokes, lived up to its billing.

Although Reedley won top team honors, Saddleback's Carson Adams made history, winning individual accolades with a state record 136. According to, Adams' 10 under par is a state championship record. 

“Adams’ two-round score tied the lowest two-round total since the tournament's start in 1950, equaling Chabot College’s Jeremy Sanchez, who fired a 136 at the 2015 State Championships,” the tournament website stated.